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Suspect in Downey shooting pleads not guilty to 14 charges including murder

Sharon McNary/KPCC

A note at the site of the Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 Downey shooting. "Descansa en Paz Compa Joe" for Josimar Rojas.

It was a swift arraignment as about 10 relatives and people close to the three victims killed in a shooting last month in Downey waited to find out what the suspected shooter would say.

“Not guilty, your honor,” replied the public defender representing Jade Douglas Harris.

Harris, 30, is accused of walking into a fire extinguisher business in Downey on October 24 and shooting a man and a woman who worked there. Two other people were injured. Prosecutors allege that Harris also forced a woman and her 13-year old son to drive him to a house a few short blocks away, then shot them. Only the boy survived that shooting.

The three people killed were Josimar Rojas, 26, Irene Cardenas Reyes, 35, and Susana Perez Ruelas, 34.

The family of the victims declined to comment after today’s arraignment.

Harris is being held without bail. Four LA County Sheriff’s deputies surrounded him as he sat in court.

He faces 14 criminal charges including three counts of murder, two of attempted murder, kidnapping and carjacking charges. Prosecutors are also leveling special circumstances that would make him eligible for the death penalty, although the LA County District Attorney’s office hasn’t made that decision yet.

Harris, a convicted felon, is a third-striker eligible for life in prison without parole, even under the newly changed state law.

 Attorneys will set a preliminary hearing date on Dec. 18.

 

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